The very name of Longreach conjures up images of cowboys on horseback moving their dusty herd against a big Outback sky, with perhaps a couple of howling dingoes and a creaking windmill providing the sound effects as the sun sets. Happily, the reality isn’t all that far removed from the myth… except perhaps that the cowboys may be riding motorbikes instead of horses.

Longreach is situated about 1200 kilometres northwest of Brisbane. It was settled in the 1870s and is now the largest town in Central West Queensland. It boasts several caravan parks and has become a mecca for tourists seeking to experience – and to learn about – Australia’s vast Outback.

The iconic Stockman’s Hall of Fame delves into the history of the region from the time of the first Aboriginal tribes to the industrial age. It also provides visitors with a unique insight into the character and lives of the men and women who helped to build modern Australia. The stories of the old Outback heroes, stockmen, poets, pioneers and explorers are all carefully detailed, and the displays certainly provide an interesting and comprehensive view of the culture. The admission price gives you two days to take it all in – and it’s worth doing just that, as there is just so much to see, experience and read about!

Longreach is also known as the birthplace of Qantas. The hangar at the airport was the first operational base for the airline, which was to eventually grow into our first international carrier. It now houses the Qantas Founders Outback Museum where you can learn more about the history of the airline, tour a fully equipped 747 and, for the adventurous, even take a walk on one of its wings.

Bush poets and balladeers perform regularly in Longreach during the dry season. Their performances really create a
great atmosphere for visitors.

The Thomson River is a great place to throw in a line or just watch the amazing birdlife. If you time your fishing trip for dusk, you may be in for a treat as the region is famed for its spectacular sunsets. The stars aren’t too bad either.

Many nomads also use Longreach as a base from which to explore the many regional attractions. For prehistoric fans – or should that be fans of the prehistoric! – fossilised dinosaur footprints can be seen at Lake Quarry Conservation Park southwest of Winton, and the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton brings Australia’s favourite folk song to life. The region’s national parks provide visitors with a great opportunity for birdwatching, photography and wildlife spotting.

Spend a day (at least) in the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and learn how this country was built; spend a day (at least) at the Qantas Founders Outback Museum; find a place to sit around a campfire and listen to some budding bush poets; try on a cowboy hat and shout ‘yeeehaiii!’.

Good van parks in Longreach and nearby Barcaldine; there’s camping for self-sufficient travellers at Longreach Waterhole about 4 km north-west of town. Further afield there is camping at surrounding national parks such as Lochern National Park, about 150 km to the south-west.


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